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Michigan’s fallen officers remembered with long awaited Lansing monument

Posted by: jgomori Posted date: November 26, 2019

Photos courtesy of MLEOM                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             The newly constructed Michigan Law Enforcement Officers Memorial dedication ceremony was held in July. The panels are removable so future names of Michigan Officers who die in the line of duty can be added to the monument.

By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor with excerpts from MLEOM.org

When a Michigan police officer dies in the line of duty, they are recognized by fellow officers, family, friends and the news media, but now their memories will live on in another way as their names are added to the newly constructed Michigan Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Monument (MLEOM) in Lansing.

Nearly 500 people came out for the reveal of the state’s long awaited law enforcement memorial coined “The Sentinels,” near Veterans Memorial Park, at the corner of Allegan Street and Butler Boulevard in downtown Lansing July 27, 2019.

Family members of fallen officers, members of the law enforcement community, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and the public joined the Michigan Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Monument Fund Commission for the monument dedication ceremony.

Lefty, the granddaughter of Michigan State Police (MSU) K9 Gero, sits in front of one of the 10 illuminated panels at night. MSU Captain Mary Johnson worked with Gero as a K9 Officer. Lefty posed near Johnson’s brother’s name, fallen Michigan State Police Trooper Rick L. Johnson.

The ceremony included a reading of 588 fallen officers’ names, which are inscribed on 10 sentinels.

To locate a particular officer’s name at the memorial, visit the MLEOM website and click on Fallen Officers. Names are arranged alphabetically by department on the website. Within each department, the names are in chronological order by their end of watch date. Each name listing includes their sentinel number and whether the officer’s name is on the east or west side of that Sentinel.

The “Sentinel” design by David Milling, of David Milling & Associates/Architects of Ann Arbor was modified in 2017. It includes 10 sentinels – 4’ X 8’ metal panels engraved with the names of fallen officers – ‘standing vigil over the memories of those lost.’

“It’s amazing and phenomenal. We really appreciate that this has finally come to be,” said Michigan State University Police Captain Mary Johnson, an MLEOM Commissioner. “People are going there to reflect and find the names of people they know and have worked with.”

For Johnson, the name she was looking for was her brother’s, Michigan State Police Trooper Rick L. Johnson. Trooper Johnson’s end of watch was May 6, 2000. The 35-year-old died shortly after he was struck by a car during a traffic stop on I-94 in Van Buren Township.

“Every time you go down there it’s like a reunion because you run into people you know,” Captain Johnson said. “It’s such a great purpose. There’s so many people going down there to use that as a place to remember and come to some peace. They’re still dealing with the loss of the people they worked with … and family members.”

MLEOM Commission Chairperson Lin Emmert’s son, Grand Haven Department of Public Safety Officer Scott Flahive’s name is also on one of those Sentinels. Officer Flahive was 28-years-old when he was shot and killed Dec. 13, 1994 after stopping a vehicle containing an escapee from the Ottawa County Jail.

“It looks awesome, particularly at night, as the panels are lit from within,” Emmert said.

The monument project began after Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed PA 177 into law in 2004, creating the Michigan Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Monument Fund. In early 2018, Gov. Snyder signed a supplemental appropriation for a $1.18 million grant to build the Memorial Monument, pushing the 14-year fund-raising efforts past the goal needed to begin construction.

The first line of duty officer death recognized is Deputy Marshal Charles Ring of Saginaw PD in 1864. Over 200 Detroit Police Officers names are inscribed, including three who died in 2018. Detroit Police Lieutenants and Sergeants Association made a $1,500 donation at the dedication ceremony, where each of the fallen officers’ names were read.

Construction is nearly complete with some landscaping and lighting to be finalized, however, donations will continue to be needed for site maintenance.

“New names will need to be added, and that is an expensive project because the panels need to be removed with heavy equipment in order to add names,” Emmert said. “We’d also like to have an on-site and/or online way for people to locate their officer(s).”

The Commission is also looking into the possibility of an educational/historical component housed in the Library of Michigan across the street from the memorial.

To donate online with a credit card, visit www.mleom.org, then go to DONATE and click on DONATE NOW or call 517-241-4083. Make check or money order donations to Michigan Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and mail to: Michigan Dept. Technology, Management, & Budget/Financial Services, Cashiering Unit/Law Enforcement Memorial, P.O. Box 30681, Lansing MI 48909-8181.

For more information about the memorial monument, visit www.mleom.org.

The Michigan Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Monument can be seen day or night.

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